Category: Adventures at the Museum

Adventures at the Museum – April 22, 2020

By Emily Nelson, Museum Director
By advertising “fancy groceries, canned goods, and delicacies—many new and delightful ‘eats’ that will solve your dinner and party lunch problems,” C.A. Brust hoped to entice shoppers into the Corner Grocery on Main Street in April 1920. While working on research for upcoming exhibits, I’ve enjoyed browsing the pages of past issues of the newspaper that are available online through the library’s website.
Reading the advertisements and “notices” published in the newspaper has been a great way to learn more about the many different businesses that have operated here over the years and gives some context to some of the many items we have in the museum from these local businesses. This year we are working on exhibits that interpret the theme of “Then and Now,” with a focus on the last 50 years to celebrate the museum’s 50th anniversary this year.
For this week, however, I decided to look through issues of the newspaper from April 1920 to see what was happening in town 100 years ago. Advertisements are a great way to learn about some of the big changes in terms of how people dress, what they eat, equipment they use on the farm and in the home, what they drive, where they shop, and many other aspects of daily life. Some advertisements leave me wondering or wanting to learn more—for example, what were considered “fancy groceries” in 1920? Some tell me quite a bit about the times in which people were living.
Many advertisements from 1920 try to justify why people should still purchase certain goods even though prices have risen. One of my favorite examples of this is an advertisement by C.E. Ashley who owned a furniture store in the Syndicate Block. In April 1920 he told potential customers that “we used to say that furniture was cheaper than dirt. Although furniture is high, the old saying is probably just as near the truth now as ever. Come in and buy if you want any. You can pay for it now easier than you could in years gone by. Figure it out for yourself.”
Everything, including land prices, was more expensive after World War I so why not buy furniture? Some advertisements in the 1920s reference the increase in mass-produced goods and stricter food safety regulations, and the growing belief among many people that items produced in factories were superior to “homemade” because they represented technological advancement. Being able to afford store-bought bread was a source of pride for people because it showed that they made enough money to do so. P.H. Paige’s store advertised in April 1920 that “Peerless Bread is Wrapped by Machine. Clever machines take the place of human hands in wrapping Peerless Bread for you. It is thus wrapped with the same care for cleanliness that is observed in the mixing and baking of Peerless. Your own hands are the first to touch it.”
If you have a chance, take a little time to pick a year, or a month, and browse through past issues of the newspaper online. You’ll likely learn something new about our town’s history, and you may find something about which you’d like to learn more or give some new context to a walk around town.

Adventures at the Museum – March 11, 2020

Work is continuing at the museum to get ready for our regular summer season! We anticipate regular hours beginning in early May. If you are looking for a fun way to spend some time on Monday mornings (and some Thursday mornings), join our group of incredible and dedicated volunteers to help create this year’s exhibits. We meet at 9 AM on Mondays, and you can stay until noon or stay for an hour, whatever your schedule allows. There are plenty of opportunities for various abilities and interests, as well as coffee and treats. If you’d like to learn more about this or other volunteer opportunities please contact Sherry Sheffler or Emily Nelson.
Can you help us expand our collection of local history photographs and add to our exhibits this year? We are looking for FFA members’ photos from their years in FFA. Original photos will be scanned to create digital copies and returned to their owners. We’re also looking for any photos you might have from beauty salons and barber shops here in town—maybe a “first haircut” photo or one of a beautician/stylist or barber at work, or the inside of the salon or barber shop. In addition, we could use photos of our community parks, the ball diamonds, and the pool over the years.
The Museum Board is working to develop a calendar of events and programs that we are excited to share with you as soon as possible. Our goal is to include some favorite events from past years and some new events and programs. Information will be available on Facebook, our updated website, and in the newspaper.

Adventures at the Museum – December 18, 2019

Support your local museum this holiday season! Check out the Wish Tree located at the library–you’ll find tags on the tree with items the museum needs. These include programming supplies, office and cleaning supplies, and other things that we use regularly. Take a tag, and then return the tag with your item to the library. We thank you in advance for your generosity and support!

Adventures at the Museum – July 10, 2019

By Director Emily Nelson
On Thursday, July 18 from 10-11 AM, come to the museum to make a Shoe Box City! We’ll learn about what went in to planning La Porte City, and then you’ll create your own town in a shoe box. So be thinking about what you would want to include in a town if you could plan one. Designed for ages 1st-5th grade, but younger children are welcome with an adult caregiver.
On Tuesday, July 30 at 6:30 PM the library is having the Grout Star Lab for the Summer Reading Program, and it will be set up at the museum!
August 8, come to the museum from 10-11 AM to learn about some amazing insect adaptations! We’ll learn about why pollinators are important, and make a bee hotel or a bee bath that you can take home with you. 1st-5th graders welcome, older siblings may come as helpers and younger children are welcome with an adult caregiver.
On August 1 or 8 (we are still working with participants to finalize a date) come to the museum for “The Many Hats of an Iowa Farmer.” Through hands-on activities, we’ll learn about all of the different things farmers have to know to do their job, and about some different careers in agriculture. We’ll have some special guests so you won’t want to miss this! Watch for details.
Thursday mornings at 8:30 we have coffee and conversation at the museum, drop by or stay as long as you’d like. Photos and other items from the collection are available for you to look at and it’s a great way to connect with other residents over our community’s history. Whether you know a lot about LPC’s history, or not much at all, whether you’ve lived here for a long time or are pretty new in town, you are welcome to join us!

Adventures at the Museum – July 3, 2019

Make sure to check out the museum’s summer programs! On Tuesday, July 2 from 10-11 AM, learn about some of Iowa’s wild weather and make a “Wild Weather Shelter.” You’ll have some time to design your shelter to withstand some different types of wild weather that occur here in Iowa, and then we’ll test your shelters to see how well they can handle those weather events! This program is suitable for kids ages 3rd-6th grade, but younger siblings are welcome with an adult caregiver. Bring your friends, the more people you have coming up with ideas for your shelter, the better!
On July 9 at 6:30 PM, we are hosting a “Lunar Landing Viewing Party” for the library’s Summer Reading Program. Experience what it was like to watch the television broadcast of the first lunar landing in 1969. Learn about the moon and about what life was like for the astronauts who were part of Apollo 11 through hands-on activities.
If you remember watching the lunar landing on television in 1969, we’d love to hear from you! Anniversaries of events like the first lunar landing are a great opportunity to gather people’s memories of those events and archive them for the future. Please consider sharing your memories with us – whether you were an adult or a child, we’d like to know what you remember and how you felt watching the lunar landing! You can write it down, or make a recording.
On July 18 from 10-11 AM, come to the museum to make a Shoe Box City! We’ll learn about what went in to planning La Porte City, and then you’ll create your own town in a shoe box! So be thinking about what you would want to include in a town if you could plan one. Designed for ages 1st-5th grade, but younger children are welcome with an adult caregiver.


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